Merec has reached a couple of milestones recently. I've finished playing through Tatooine, including all of the bonus quest series, and have now reached level 30.
I think Tatooine has been my favourite planet so far. It is far more open than any of the previous planets I have visited, and even after completing all of the questlines there is much of the map left undiscovered. It is also a huge planet and would take hours to travel across by foot (and even longer by Jawa balloon!).
The world builders at Bioware have again done a brilliant job, and the atmosphere is spot on. The light itself seems over-bright due to the twin suns, and the shadows are long and thin. It looks incredible, by far the most "realistic" desert zone I've seen in an MMO. It really evokes the Star Wars universe with classic location such as the Sarlaac pit and the Dune Sea.
The open planet and desert makes avoiding mobs during travelling easy as long as you take a little care, though things get a bit more fraught in the valleys and more mountainous areas. Bioware have done a good job of bringing variety to a planet covered in sand.
The world quest on Tatooine is one of the best I've come across so far, involving our old friends the Czerka corporation and a doomsday device that is linked into the level 50 Eternity Vault operation. It's nice to see the story tracks for the endgame being laid down already, and will hopefully give some more context to the operation when I finally get to do it.
The smuggler class story has really kicked into high gear. It culminated in a very amusing situation with a Sith and Jedi fighting both each other and the planet's primary underworld figure, whilst I was left in the middle of the chaos trying to choose who to help during the epic battle. It was lots of fun, with some more great one-liners and that feeling of getting in way over my head. Still, Merec managed to retrieve the sensor computer he required and can finally move on to locate Nok Drayen's lost treasure trove. There appears to be a bit of a twist coming up as well, with hints that Nok Drayen was not all he appeared to be, and that he was much more than some common gangster. I'm looking forwards to finding out the truth!
A few more datacrons have been located, though I must admit to cheating for the first time and looking up how to reach the ones on top of a sandcrawler in the Dune Sea. After a thirty minute ride on a jawa ballon I managed to miss my jump onto the top of the sandcrawler and had to start all over again. Doh!
The only issue I have with the game right now is that I seem to be levelling too quickly. It would be nice if there was an option to turn off xp, like there is in EQ2. I'm almost level 31 and moving to Alderaan for the first time, which is balanced for level 28 plus. It's not a major issue, but I'm worried I may be even more over-levelled by the time I reach Hoth for example. The problem is I'm having such a good time with the levelling game that I find myself completing every side quest, including the bonus quest series at the end of each planet's timeline (these offer some great rewards).
So, it's farewell to the twin suns and off to the planet of Alderaan next. It seems such a peaceful place, I'm sure nothing will go wrong!
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